Kidney Cancer Causes Risk Factors Aging

Located in your abdomen on each side of your spine, your kidneys are part of your urinary system. The kidneys perform important functions in the body by removing wastes and excess fluids from the blood. These wastes and fluids are released from the body in the form of urine.

Kidneys help the body maintain homeostasis, or a long-term, stable, balanced condition. However, like other organs and systems in our bodies, aging can impact the functioning of your kidneys.

Kidneys and Aging

  • a hardening of the blood vessels that lead to the kidneys
  • a reduction in the number of nephrons in the kidneys (Nephrons are the part of the kidneys that filter out the wastes and excess fluids from your blood stream.)
  • a reduction in the size of the kidney due to tissue loss.

As kidneys wear down with time, they may start to filter your blood more slowly. However, because the kidneys are built to handle more volume than is really necessary, some people’s kidneys are not significantly affected overall by the aging process.

Keep in mind that this does not mean that you are not at risk of developing kidney diseases as you age. Ultimately, aging can lead to kidney cancer, kidney failure or other diseases involving your kidneys and your urinary tract.

Preventing Kidney Cancer as You Age

While no one knows the exact causes of any type of cancer, older people are far more likely than younger people to develop cancers, including kidney cancer. Luckily, you can take some measures as you age to help prevent yourself from getting kidney cancer.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to avoid developing any type of cancer. Being healthy will help slow down the aging process and can lead to a happier, more productive life. To reduce the risks of developing kidney cancer, you should:

  • Control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels through medication and/or diet.
  • Eat a low-fat, low-sugar, high-fiber diet.
  • Exercise regularly. This will help you loose weight and improve your cardiovascular system.
  • Get regular checkups from your physician, including the appropriate blood and urine tests.
  • If you use tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, etc.), talk to your doctor about ways to quit. If you do not smoke, do not start. Tobacco is linked to the development of a number of cancers, including kidney cancer.
  • Loose weight if you are overweight or obese. If you are not at your ideal weight, you are more likely to develop cancer. Talk to your doctor about weight loss programs.

In addition, people with high blood pressure are more likely to develop kidney cancer than those who do not have high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, get treatment from your physician. Loosing weight, exercising regularly and eating the right diet can also help lower your blood pressure.

Resources

A.D.A.M., Inc. (2004). Aging Changes in the Kidneys. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from the Dr. Koop Web site: http://www.drkoop.com/ency/93/004010.html.

American Geriatrics Society (2005). Kidney Problems. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from the American Geriatrics Society Web site: http://www.healthinaging.org/AGINGINTHEKNOW/chapters_ch_trial.asp?ch=54.

Mayo Clinic (2006). Kidney Cancer. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from the CNN Web site: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/DS/00360.html.